Thunder was rolling when I got out to the farm today. To be fair, it was rolling when I'd left the house an hour earlier. With an hour drive between home and farm, I figured the weather could be completely different there so I headed out anyways. It was definitely brighter than it had been at home, but it was clear that weather was moving in.
The first thing I did when I got there was to walk out into the field and fly spray Gossip and give her a grooming. It included picking out her feet. She isn't relaxed enough for me to go slowly and take my time, but I can get them done now. I noticed that one of the mares was not with the group and I could hear her whinnying. It's not like that mare to go off on her own, so after Gossip was groomed and fly sprayed I went to investigate.
The turnout they're in right now has two distinct areas that are connected by a gate. There's a dry lot area, where the shelter and the waterer are, and there's the pasture. The gate between them is generally tied open. Well today it had somehow come untied, and swung closed. Poor Avi was in the dry lot alone, feeling sorry for herself. I have no idea how long she'd been there, but she was very happy when I opened the gate and tied it back again for her.
Once she was sorted I turned my attention back to Gossip. One thing I can't stand is a herd-bound horse, so I know I need to be pro-active to prevent it. So far in her life every time I've haltered her and taken her out of the pasture there's been another horse with her. Today that changed. I grabbed a small scoop of her ration balancer, and set the feed tub down outside of the gate, but in a spot where she'd still be able to see the herd. Then I went and haltered Gossip. She was hesitant when she realized that I was taking her out of the field on her own, but with some verbal reassurance she followed me easily enough. After I had latched the gate behind us and she realized there was food, she relaxed and ate happily. Then I had to get her back in....
Her best friend can be a pain, and he was crowding the gate. He's kind of a big goofball, and I'm sure he wanted to know why she'd gotten fed and he hadn't. I wound up having to chase him off a couple of times, because he was crowding us and not letting Gossip come all the way through the gate. The last thing I needed was him going out instead of her coming in, and having to chase him around the property! My getting after him made Gossip hesitate a bit to come towards me/through the gate, but once she figured out what was going on she came back in easily.
My plan for the next while is to keep taking her out, for a bit longer each time, and gradually farther away from the others. She'll get fed a bit each time, so there's something in it for her. And in the process she'll get used to going off alone with me. Hey, it worked with Squeaker. :)